Prickly Pear: Also known as tunas, prickly pears are full of crunchy little edible seeds and taste like melon. The fruit—the berry of the prickly pear cactus—is common in the Southwest. If you run across these pears at the market, the spines will probably have been removed (and that’s a good thing). Use prickly pears to make jams or marmalade, or enjoy them the traditional Mexican way: raw—peeled and sliced—with a squeeze of lime.
Quince: The fragrant quince was once commonplace in American kitchens. No more—a pity. Although hard, dry, and astringent when raw, quince is delicious cooked. Peel and poach for tarts or compotes; roast to serve alongside meats; or add a few slices to your next apple pie. Thanks to loads of pectin (a natural thickener), quince is also ideal for jams, jellies, and preserves.
Kumquat: This pygmy of the citrus family is about the size of an olive, and the entire fruit, from peel to flesh, is edible. It’s actually the sweeter rind—not the tart, dry flesh—that houses most of the flavor. Kumquats are often candied or pickled; alternatively, we suggest slicing or halving and seeding them before adding them to desserts or baked goods.
Pomegranate: The hundreds of small, sparkling crimson kernels inside a pomegranate are tart, slightly crunchy, and completely edible—seed and all. To release the kernels with less mess (the juice stains), halve the pomegranate and submerge it in a bowl of water. As you gently pull it apart, the seeds will sink, separating from the bitter pith and membrane that hold them. Use the seeds in green or fruit salads or to top a pudding or a custard pie.